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Failed fusion?

Started by AllieO2000 on 12/25/2017 9:03pm

In May 2013, after 13 years of on again off again pain, I finally had an ALIF to fuse L4/L5, which were bone on bone. A year later, I started having pain again but most of the time in the right of my butt. All tests showed that I was fused at L4/L5, so my orthopedic surgeon diagnosed SI Joint Disorder. In May 2017, we started the process to try to get insurance approval for SI fusion. Insurance keeps denying. I opted to get a second opinion to bolster my case. The second opinion took his own x-rays and it appeared to show a broken pedicle screw. With that information, my orthopedic surgeon opted to go back in, from the rear, and shave down the facet for packing in the disk space, and put in two rods and four screws.

Here is my dilemma. I had a CT after the second opinion saw the broken screw, but nothing showed up on the CT. Is it possible that it couldn't be seen by the CT or did I just have a second fusion for no good reason?

Also, although I have had a great recovery since the second fusion (Nov 22, 2017), I am starting to get the SI pain again. Ugh. Is it worth the fight to keep trying for a SI fusion? I know there aren't a long of people who are 2-5 years out from the new SI fusions, so I'm worried about whether this is a good idea or not.

Thank you for any and all responses!

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1 Response


Hi, AllieO2000--thanks for sharing your story with us. We can't comment on the necessity of your second fusion, though we assume your surgeon was well justified to perform the second surgery. A lot goes into the thought process behind having a second surgery to correct something with the first, and you can read a bit about that here: ( Spinal Fusion Instrumentation Removal: Pros and Cons ).

If you're having SI pain, our advice is to continue to seek professional perspectives on the underlying cause and potential solution(s). Perhaps this pain is connected to your recent surgery, or maybe it's something different. There's no harm in getting second (or third, or even more) opinions on your SI joint pain. If you haven't already checked out our doctor finder tool, it can help connect you to spine specialists who might help get to the bottom of your pain: https://www.spineuniverse.com/locate/spe... .

We know we doesn't fully answer your questions, but we hope this information helps. We wish you the very best!